New Zealand: "Even very young school children are being diagnosed with anxiety these days"

Jan 24, 2018, New Zealand Herald: Kate Hawkesby: We're all affected by mental health at some stage It's pleasing to see mental health back in the spotlight. Pleasing because, like it or not, we're all going to be affected by it at some stage of our lives. The stats tell us half of all New Zealanders will experience a mental health diagnosis in their lifetime - and even if you don't have direct contact with a diagnosis, you can bet there will be a bucketload of people who are suffering around you, who remain undiagnosed. The stats also tell us that demand for mental health services has increased by 71 percent over the past decade. I guess we can point to the obvious factors here: family violence, anxiety, addiction, unemployment - but if there's a positive to that statistic, it's that more people are prepared to ask for help. … What's of big interest to me, in particular, is our young people. Anxiety is at record levels according to those at the coal face. Even very young school children are being diagnosed with anxiety these days. How much weight are these anxious younger generations going to put on our already stretched health services in the future? We seem very adept these days at talking about wellbeing. It is the age of meditation and mindfulness after all. We can recount the benefits of fresh air and a brisk walk, a few deep breaths and learning to relax - but do we actually do it? Do we role model it for our kids? What's our role in all of this and are we playing our part? … Trustees plan to monitor student aggression more closely and more often. They want more details to better understand which students lash out and how often. … A union-sponsored forum last year found that such incidents often arise out of poor mental health. … "It is our youngest and most vulnerable students who are exposed to violence most frequently," Pelich said. He cites kindergarten teachers who seek help to manage aggression in their classrooms and are "met with demeaning comments about the small size of the children they teach."